RAISE THE STAKES

Author: Sky Samuelle

Rating: PG

Summary: Last scene of episode 2.7 through Chuck's eyes.

Words:1804

"What took you so long?"

Her voice was soft, perhaps even hesitant, and for a moment Chuck didn't know what to say back.

Seconds ago, he was been mildly annoyed at her, at her out-manoeuvring of him, the way she seemed take for granted she could use him.

It took him a glance to her half-naked figure to remember why the bet was been so tempting in first place.

This was all he wanted, Blair was all he truly wanted.

Legs crossed, red courtesan-like lingerie and those black stockings… she looked like she had taken inspiration from Victrola-decadent style in preparing herself. She had dressed like this thinking of him, of his preferences.

"If you thought that was long, you have no idea what you're in for."

She was so beautiful than he would have devoured her whole right now and then again and again until they were both so exhausted than they could not muster enough strength to climb off each other.

Candlelight danced on her skin and hair casting a supernatural glow around her, making her more similar to a dream or a mirage than a flesh and blood woman. Even her expression reflected a dreamy vulnerability Blair had not allowed to herself around him in long, long time. Her gaze was expecting, full of promise, but oddly shy too.

Could he really have her now? Was the very same thing he had craved for months going to be finally his for the taking?

It felt impossible, and as his jacket hit the ground and he moved toward her- slowly, although the distance between them was so very short, like he was afraid she could vanish in a cloud of smoke- a storm of raging butterflies fluttered nervously in his stomach.

Her mouth opened under his eagerly when he kissed her, her tongue hungrily meeting his half-way, sliding inside his mouth, while her slender, semi naked body slithered under his easily.

It felt like she wanted, needed this as much he did.

Her arms surrounded his shoulders right away, pulling him down to her as her thighs parted to cradle him gently. He could feel the heat of her skin through his shirt.

Blair was all around him: her taste, her smell, the warmth of her soft body stretching under his. He had not ever known a pleasure like this. ..Until it occurred him that she still was not his.

He had had this before: she had already offered him her body, her permission to please it and take pleasure from it behind closed doors. But this was all what she was giving him at this very time.

He could cover her skin with wet kisses, drive himself inside her as deep he could go and still he would not be reaching deep enough to really, really touch her.

He could not stand the thought of it, so he had to stop.

"Say it."

He had to cringe inside, because his request had meant to be commanding but it had managed to sound husky and vaguely desperate at his ears.

"Say it? Say what? I'll say anything…"

Gasped and breathless as it was, her reply cut him deep. It had to be nerves. Those three words which he had spurned and ridiculed and feared and never, ever heard. It was ridiculous he was craving them so suddenly, intensely and irresistibly from her lips. Ah! He kissed again those soft, pliant lips that were too talented and passionate to let him down tonight. He drank Blair in, drowning his anxiety in her taste.

"Say those three words you wanted me to say."

Her eyes, at first glazed by passion, cleared a little and beautiful features twisted in an impatient mix of confusion and disbelief.

"Um, are you kidding?"

Chuck would prefer thinking she was being sarcastic, but it was just so simply, gratingly evident that she was utterly oblivious to what he meant. Wasn't it already been enough humiliating to be asking for them?

"Not quite. Eight letters, three syllables. Say them and I'm yours."

"But I'm already yours and you are ruining the moment with all this talk. "

Blair began squirming in impatience underneath him, her hands gripping him harder to pull him in another kiss.

All-this-talk. Like she was okay with getting through this and being done. Like this concerned her only and he had no desires or emotions or wishes to take in account. Like they were back to square one.

"You can't say it. You wanted it from me," he reminded her, sternly, feeling nearly numb all of sudden. Where were his butterflies? They had gone so quiet.

"I'm prepared to settle-"

And Blair – the ever-demanding, bossy Blair! - reached out for him again, ready to devour the issue away. For all the hunger he sensed in her limbs' tension, it felt like she was ignoring him, swatting him away like some annoying bug.

Something in his gut grew colder and there was suddenly a distance between his mind and his body.

He could not take her more than he could grow wings and fly.

Damn.

"Maybe I'm not."

He sounded in control: good. Blair probably could not tell he was seething inside.

Settle? He had settled for whole his life, without even knowing he was doing that. Settling for women he had a slim chance of liking because he had never imagined a female could give him more than her body and her lust, settling for an endless series of meaningless orgasms because he had never known a different kind of intimacy. Settling for Bart's tolerance when it became inescapable that no good deed would have possibly raised him to his father's forgiveness. For holding his monologues confined to the silence in his head while listening Nate's prattle because it was safer.

For being Blair's dirty secret because other possibilities seemed weird and far-fetched.

He wouldn't settle for figments of her if he could not have her whole.

So close, he could feel her breath on his chin; raptly watch her surprise melting into a softer emotion.

"Chuck Bass…" she trailed off and some part of him tensed in anticipation. This was the moment, the moment everything could shift, the chance which could fix him. Maybe. Because if Blair Waldorf could love him, then anything had to be possible.

"-I will never say those words to you" she continued, rushing just enough than he could suppose there was at least a residual bit of insincerity or uncertainty.

Yet knowing that didn't make the collision between disappointment and pain smoother.

"Then you will never have me."

She mattered too much now, to reduce her to a one-night stand, and even if his unhealthy attachment hadn't happened by his choice, he could not change that fact.

Chuck rose off her and barely felt the loss. Her warmth was already been gone by then.

Yet his eyes never strayed from her face, capturing each drop of the incredulity displayed there. It was still so beautiful, but it was a beauty too far out reach.

Kissing her would not have sufficed to bring her back to him.

"Is this because of Vanessa?" Blair sputtered, her tone pitching higher, almost petulantly. Anger and indignation chased each other across her visage before melting together into a more neutral, hardened expression. "It was a game, Chuck. That's it." A self-righteous determination burned behind her gaze, like embers underneath the ashes. He fed on the intensity of her attention: it was better having her so focused on him in anger than dismissing him in desire.

"Maybe I want to raise the stakes."

He would take either all or nothing of her. No half-measures where Blair Waldorf was concerned, not because he deserved her but because he couldn't deal with anything else.

"Are you ready to play that game? I chased you for long enough. Now it's time you chased me"

Through the bleak fog that had enveloped his brain, Chuck said to himself that surrendering to her ultimate choice didn't bother him.

It was about time to see if she could want him, feel him as much he wanted and felt her.

I will never say those words to you.

Better it wasn't true. The words he had never heard from anyone, he needed them from her only.